For the first time in five seasons, the Warriors find themselves in new territory entering the 2019-20 season. With Kevin Durant gone to the Brooklyn Nets, Klay Thompson rehabbing his surgically repaired left ACL and eight new players on the roster, the Warriors are not the preseason NBA title favorites.
As the Warriors reconcile a new reality, the rest of the Western Conference has retooled with superstar talent. Over the next seven days, NBC Sports Bay Area will examine teams that are expected to challenge Golden State's Western Conference throne.
First up: The San Antonio Spurs.
In an offseason dominated by superstar player movement, the Spurs biggest summer splash was the re-signing of forward Rudy Gay, who agreed to a two-year, $32 million contract. Gay averaged 13.7 points in one of the most efficient series of his career.
Joining Gay in San Antonio was DeMarre Carroll, who was acquired in a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn and agreeed to a three-year, $20.65 million contract.
Spurs rounded out the roster signing big man Trey Lyles and drafting Luka Šamanić, Keldon Johnson, Quinndary Weatherspoon. But perhaps the biggest addition will be the return of point guard DeJounte Murray, who missed last season with a torn ACL.
The biggest strength the Spurs have maintained since Tim Duncan's retirement is coach Gregg Popovich. Despite the departure of Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio won 48 games behind the core of DeMar DeRozen and LaMarcus Aldridge. While DeRozen shot a career-high 48 percent from the field, Aldridge had one of most efficient seasons of his career, averaging 21 points and nine rebounds on 51.9 percent.
With the duo's effectiveness, the Spurs were among the best shooting teams in the league last season, making 47 percent of their shots, second only to the Warriors.
Under Popovich's leadership, the Spurs have made the playoffs the last 22 seasons, a streak that should continue with the current roster.
The Spurs were one of the worst defensive teams in the league, posting a 110.5 defensive rating -- 11th worst in the league.
Part of the slump could be attributed to the absence of Murray, the team's best perimeter defender, and Leonard's departure to Toronto. However, with the additions of Carroll and Murray, the unit should improve.
How the Warriors match up
With eight new players on the roster, the Warriors have very little idea of how cohesive the team will be by their first matchup against the Spurs on Nov. 1 in San Francisco. Worse - with Andre Iguodala traded to Memphis and Thompson out - the Warriors will be without two of last year's top perimeter defenders.
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Compounding their wing defensive woes, Willie Cauley Stein is the only true center on on the Warriors roster, meaning Golden State could struggle against Aldridge in the frontcourt.
Until the Warriors find a defensive identity, the Spurs could be a problem this season.
Warriors vs. the West: How Dubs match up against Spurs in 2019-20 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area